Proteas thrash India to win maiden ODI series in India
There were quite a few common factors between Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock during yesterday's ODI series decider against India. The South African trio scored their centuries less than a run-a-ball and all three were playing their first ODI at the iconic Wankhede Stadium.
Quinton de Kock 109 off 87 balls
Quinton de Kock celebrates his century yesterday
The South Africans posted 438-4 in 50 overs — five runs less than the highest ODI score. For the second time in history South Africa had three batsmen scoring a century in one innings. India, in reply, managed just 224 in 35.5 overs, giving up the chase after Shikhar Dhawan (60) and Ajinkya Rahane (87) departed. The 214-run loss was India's worst defeat at home and South Africa's maiden ODI series win on Indian soil.
While parts of Mumbai's suburbs experienced rain, it was raining runs in South Mumbai. Seventy three runs in the first 10 overs was enough to silence the vociferous crowd. The Men in Blue seem to bring out the best De Kock as he scored his fifth ODI ton in nine innings against India.
The only chance to get him before his century was missed as Mohit Sharma misjudged a catch at mid-off when De Kock was on 58. Part-timer Suresh Raina finally managed to break the 154-run second wicket as De Kock holed out to Virat Kohli at long off for 109.
That brought the South African ODI skipper — the world's most feared batsman — AB de Villiers in the middle. By then, Du Plessis too had got his eye in. While Du Plessis was lucky on two occasions (dropped on 45 by Ajinkya Rahane and on 85 by Amit Mishra), De Villiers was ruthless and flawless at the other end.
Faf du Plessis 133 off 115 balls
Faf du Plessis plays an off-side shot at the Wankhede
Cramps too could not stop Du Plessis as the South African scored 33 runs in his last 10 balls (which included 24 runs off Axar Patel in 43rd over) before retiring hurt on 133. De Villiers credited Du Plessis for digging deep.
"Faf didn't get enough credit for his knock. He came in at a difficult situation when the Indian spinners were dominating. He controlled the innings and that helped Quiny (De Kock) and myself free up a bit. He provided the stability. I think his (Du Plessis) was the most important knock out of the three centuries," said De Villiers.
De Villiers, meanwhile, continued to deal in sixes. He hit 11 of them and just three fours which was a good enough indicator of the respect he gave to the Indian bowlers. So dominating was De Villiers that the Indian supporters too couldn't stop chanting 'ABD ABD'. "I am blessed to get such kind of reception," a humble SA skipper said.
AB de Villiers 119 off 61 balls
AB de Villiers en route his quickfire 61-ball 119 against India yesterday. Pics/Atul Kamble
Looking to hit his third consecutive six off Bhuvneshwar, De Villiers (61-ball 119) was done in by a slower one that went straight to wicketkeeper Dhoni with South Africa just two short of 400.0
"I got a bit of momentum in the beginning and I wanted to go early, but I held back myself. I waited for Faf to finish so that I can go later on," said De Villiers. David Miller (22 not out) and Farhan Behardien (16) took the visitors beyond what India would have imagined.